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Scores of thugs swarmed two Memphis gas stations over the weekend, stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise and destroying property. Looters also hit a 53-foot FedEx semi-trailer, stealing multiple packages.
While last year, former District Attorney Amy Weirich indicated that Memphis would trend in this direction if soft-on-crime Democratic professor Steve Mulroy was elected chief prosecutor, the exasperated mayor of America's most dangerous city indicated this week the courts were to blame for failing to ensure that criminals are locked up.
Criminals on tour
WMC-TV reported that multiple businesses were robbed and vandalized Saturday night.
"Some people referred to it almost as a purge, it was ridiculous," said James Davis, owner of L.R. Clothier. "I saw some videos on social media."
Davis' business was broken into early Sunday morning, according to police.
"What this says to me is that people don't fear any repercussions of their actions," added the store owner.
Roughly $2,000 of items were stolen from the Exxon at 3483 Airways Boulevard. Over $15,000 of merchandise was taken from the Fill-N-Go gas station at 3084 South Third Street just hours later, where a clerk reported having a rifle pointed at him by a suspect. The mob is estimated to have inflicted $9,000 in damage at the second location.
Footage of one of the incidents shows a mob of looters, some masked and others bare-faced, ransacking a gas station and absconding with everything from candy to an electric sign. One hooded figure taking his time deciding which chocolate bars to load into his sagging pants can be seen carrying around a rifle. Another masked figure grabbing a handful of loot appears to be an adolescent girl.
Clerks and paying customers look on in disbelief as the looters pilfer without any fear of consequence.
The looters' targets were not all stationary.
In what appears to have been a coordinated effort, drivers blocked a FedEx truck in the middle of Riverport Road and Mallory Avenue around 8:30 p.m., affording masked men an opportunity to break into the trailer and steal multiple packages.
WHBQ-TV reported that Memphis Police arrived in time only to see various vehicles speeding and driving recklessly away from the gutted FedEx truck.
Officers later received a call from security at Breezy Point Apartments indicating that guards had detained three men suspected of breaking into the FedEx truck, all reportedly reeking of marijuana.
Inside the suspect's white Chevrolet, police reportedly found four Kicker Speakers 6x9, a vehicle headlight, one 14-piece set of pots and pans, a cardboard box of air lines, and three DirectTV cable boxes.
The trio were taken into custody.
Par for the course
Following the recent lootings, Mayor Jim Strickland said, "I mean it's similar to videos I've seen across the country. Those convenience store owners are small business people. I've met with them. They have to work there, themselves a lot, just to earn a living," reported WREG-TV.
"The court system needs fundamental change to adjust to what's going on out in the community. The police are arresting them. The courts won't keep them," said Strickland.
While the mayor figures the courts are to blame for his city's failure to keep criminals in check, former Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich told "The Todd Starnes Show" last year that her Democratic opponent, now District Attorney Steve Mulroy, would be unwilling and unable "to stand up and fight for the victims of crime and ... enforce the law."
Weirich added that Mulroy's election would leave Memphis looking like San Francisco, although by the numbers that would amount to an improvement.
Memphis scores a 0 on Neighborhood Scout's crime index, where 100 is safest. The likelihood of becoming a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 40. The chance of falling victim to a property crime is 1 in 18.
According to the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, a non-profit focused on public safety, major violent crime is up 5.4% this year in Shelby County. The major property crime rate has skyrocketed 42.1%.
Murders are up 77% this year and on track to set an all-time city record. The previous record for deadliest year was set in 2021, where Memphis saw 346 homicides and 304 murders.
The city, which had a population of 621,056 last year, reportedly has a poverty rate of 24.2%, an unemployment rate of 9.3%, and a median household income of $43,981, well below the national average. Its demographic makeup is 64% black and 27% white.
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.